At first glance, Princess Connect! Re:Dive seems like something I’d readily dismiss. For one, it’s a mobile game adaptation and those don’t incite much confidence. And two, this plot of some boy getting sent to a fantasy world to gather
a harem a bunch of magic princesses sounds like the most generic thing ever. That said, I did keep an open mind for this anime because of the franchise’s growing popularity and the decent track record of past Cygames adaptations such as Umamusume: Pretty Derby.
As it turns out, I really enjoyed watching the premiere. For starters, it is thankfully straightforward with its setup. Exposition isn’t overwhelming or dense and while there’ll undoubtedly be a ton of characters, the premiere squarely focuses on just three of them. You have the chosen hero Yuuki (Atushi Abe), his attendant Kokkoro (Miku Itou), and a wandering warrior whom the two nickname Pecorine (M.A.O.). That’s all the show concerns the viewer with for now. Everyone else just has brief cameos. Some mysteries are set up such as Yuuki’s past life as an adventurer (I’m honestly surprised he’s not another Japanese otaku or salaryman) and Pecorine’s real identity but that stuff is placed more in the background. The emphasis instead is setting on setting up a fun adventure for the viewer.
What a fun adventure it is too. I’m really liking the three major characters introduced so far. Yuuki amusingly acts like a player character in a video game, often communicating more with gestures than with words and treating everything around him with intense, childlike curiosity. The show also uses him to take the overpowered protagonist trope and go in the complete opposite direction. Poor kid just gets his ass kicked by everything he faces and the girls seem much more capable with Kokkoro being a skilled mage and Pecorine being so hilariously strong even without a weapon. Meanwhile, Kokkoro is adorable in how she’s trying her best to support her master and yet those efforts still result in Yuuki getting beaten, leaving her puzzled and in doubt over her abilities. Throughout the episode however, Yuuki will inform her that the trouble is no big deal and the back and forth with that makes for some very charming chemistry between the two characters.
The real scene stealer is Pecorine. She is such a lovable dummy that I can’t imagine there being a dull moment with her on screen. One really good bit involving her is when she meets two brothers conning her into retrieving medicine for them while they steal her sword. Even after seeing them run off with the loot, she still thinks one of them is sick and tries to deliver the medicine. Another standout bit comes after the climatic fight against an army of giant mushrooms (yeah, that happens), a tiny mushroom creature Kokkoro befriends is revealed to be just as carnivorous as the giant ones. Before it could sneak up on Kokkoro however, Pecorine eats it because she likes eating food and ends up getting high. Everything from the set up to the punchline is so ridiculous and I couldn’t stop laughing when it played out.
One last thing: the visuals are fantastic. Like, not only is there a lot of terrific character acting to accentuate the comedy, there’s a number of shots that are flat out gorgeous from a technical standpoint. Lighting and shadows are especially used to great effect, more so than the average isekai anime ever would. Princess Connect! is admittedly the first Cygames Pictures production I’ve ever watched but even so, I was not expecting such above average production values for this kind of show.
Honestly, above average is how I’d describe this show right now. This was a shot in the dark for me and it not only met my expectations but also take me by surprise. I really did have a lot of fun watching the premiere and I definitely want to see some more of this show. Maybe fatigue will still settle in, as is the case with a lot of other anime of the like but now for now, I’m sold.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Princess Connect! Re:Dive on Crunchyroll